Why El-Kebeer Awy is One of Our Favorites this Ramadan

Writer: Hagar Ezzo

Editor: Ahmed Ashry

Designer: Maram Mohammed

El-Kebeer Awy is back this Ramadan with its sixth season, and despite its hiatus, the popularity of the show has only gone up. The new season features most of the original characters with a few fresh faces like Marbouha and El-Kebeera; the show’s storyline continues to develop with many exciting mini plots. 

This season, however, the show has taken a more serious turn with the rise of more relevant topics being discussed. To be honest, we didn’t expect El-Kebeer Awy out of all the other Egyptian TV shows to be the one discussing subjects this Ramadan such as feminism and gender equality, but who said that a feel-good comedy can’t do both?

Last week, we followed Hazal’om in his journey of finding the mother of his child, and to do so he took a trip to Cairo to visit his ex, Amgad. Played by the wonderful Asmaa Galal, Amgad is a die-hard radical feminist who takes nothing from no man. But what is a radical feminist, you may ask? 

Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that focuses on the re-ordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts, while recognizing that women’s experiences are also affected by other social divisions. There are other kinds of feminism such as liberal feminism and cultural feminism, all of which you can research and read more about. 

We see clips of her advocating for women’s rights and chatting along with her fellow group members, Aseela, Gehad, and Shaheeda( side note: I loved the wordplay with the names). Gehad starts asking Hazal’om about how he supports feminism and women’s rights, which Amgad replies to by saying how he helps around the house and has no problem cooking and cleaning, and doesn’t try to control her every move. 

In another episode this week, El-Kebeer’s mom (Samantha) comes to visit and doesn’t like what she sees. Marbouha asks everyone what they’d like to eat and the kids and El-Kebeer start bombarding her with various dishes to make. Samantha sees how they take advantage of Marbouha and tells her to not cook anything, and that today is her day off. The two set out of the house looking around El-Mazareeta for a place to relax. They spot the youth center (Markaz El Shabab), but upon trying to enter they’re told that only men are allowed inside. El-Kebeer’s mom is furious at this sexism happening and starts protesting, along with all the other women of the town. She takes Marbouha as her right wing, making her son, El-Kebeer very angry and in turn. He  then locks Marbouha inside a bedroom. 

But it doesn’t stop there! Johnny, now with a huge social media platform, climbs up a ladder and takes a video with Marbouha outside her window, telling her story to the world. Next thing you know, all the media channels are outside their house, reporting and protesting for Marbouha’s freedom. The episode ends with a sort of conference with Johnny, his mother and all the women versus El-Kebeer and all the other men of the village, where the women give their requests and the men grant them. El-Kebeer gives a speech about how important women are and that they are one of the best things in a man’s life. How women are our mothers, sisters, daughters, etc. 

The bottom line is, it was such a refresher to see El-Kebeer Awy, a Ramadan show we go to for laughs and to waste time, discussing topics that a lot of producers shy away from in the media. And for the show to actually discuss the topics in a way that would inform the audience, not just making fun of feminism and women as a whole.  I think it was a wonderful idea from the screenwriters’ end and it definitely helped the show gain momentum. I hope that this paves the way for other shows and movies to start mentioning these issues, because they do exist and are of huge significance.